Recently, a call was made for automatic voter registration by Hilary Clinton, the former secretary of state and US presidential candidate. Hilary has proposed that when a US citizen turn 18, they be automatically registered to vote.
Hilary Clinton has also proposed various other methods intended to increase access to the ballot box. In addition to automatic voter registration she has also proposed that early voting (in person) be expanded, felons should have voting rights be restored (contingent upon serving sentences), and parts of the Voting Rights Act be restored. In 2013 the Supreme Court struck down parts of the Voting Rights Act.
The Act that was specifically struck down was to combat racial discrimination in voting. The Brennan Center for Justice stated the following about this overturned key provision of the Voting Rights Act.
Under Section 5 of the landmark civil rights law, jurisdictions with a history of discrimination must seek pre-approval of changes in voting rules that could affect minorities. This process, known as “preclearance,” blocks discrimination before it occurs. In Shelby County v. Holder, the Court invalidated Section 4 — which determines the states and localities covered by Section 5 — arguing that current conditions require a new coverage formula.
Hilary Clinton is campaigning for voting rights. We will most likely see her focus on automatic voter registration and other issues like it as she tries to win votes before the 2016 election. The following is what Hilary said regarding her initiatives on automatic voter registration.
“We have a responsibility to say clearly and directly what’s really going on in our country. Because what is happening is a sweeping effort to disempower and disenfranchise people of color, poor people and young people from one end of our country to another,” she said at Texas Southern University, a historically black college.
Follow My Vote is a proponent of all methods of improving access to the polls. However we also see this as a strategy of a political party to further its agenda. Typically Democrats want to expand voter access, with little regard for voting security. The Republicans on the other hand are very aware of voter fraud and tend to support legislation that focuses on election integrity at the expense of voter access.
Automatic voter registration is something we can get behind, however we must make sure that this does not create extra ballots that can be used for voter fraud. This is one more reason we need provably honest elections. Please let us know what you think of automatic voter registration! We want to know what the American people want, not just what the parties want.
About the author: Will Long is the Marketing Manager of Follow My Vote. Will supports automatic voter registration but only if we can vote online in a decentralized secure way.